Tobacco Addiction A Key Marketing Strategy

Tobacco use is the world’s leading cause of preventable death, according to the World Health Organization. Increasingly, the burden of tobacco use is greatest in low- and middle-income countries that have been targeted by the tobacco industry with its deadly products and deceptive marketing practices. The result: A global tobacco epidemic of preventable death, disease and economic harm to countries and families.

  • There are more than one billion smokers in the world.
  • Globally, 21% of adults are current smokers (men 35%; women 6%).
  • More than 80% of the world’s smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.
  • 29% of men in high-income countries, 37% in middle-income countries, and 24% of men in low-income countries are smokers.
  • 18% of women in high-income countries, 4% in middle-income, and 3% of women in low- income countries smoke.
  • Globally, the number of youth aged 13-15 years who smoke cigarettes is estimated to be around 25 million, with almost 13 million using smokeless tobacco products.2
  • Cigarette smoking and use of other tobacco products is increasing in many low- and middle-income countries due to population growth and tobacco industry marketing.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids has fought to protect children and save lives from the top cause of preventable death: tobacco use. Our vision is a future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco. Tobacco has killed enough.

We are the leading advocacy organization working to reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world. Through strategic communications and policy advocacy campaigns, we promote the adoption of proven solutions that are most effective at reducing tobacco use and save the most lives.

We are passionate and experienced public health advocates with a more than 20-year track record of leading and supporting successful policy advocacy campaigns:

  • In the United States, we work at the national, state and local levels.
  • Around the world, we are active in low- and middle-income countries facing the greatest threat from tobacco.
  • In addition to our work fighting tobacco use, our Global Health Advocacy Incubator applies our broad range of advocacy experience to supporting organizations working to address other critical public health challenges.

teen vaping

We’re making progress against tobacco

  • In the U.S., our work has helped drive smoking rates to record lows.
  • Around the world, we’re helping to turn the tide of a global tobacco epidemic that would otherwise kill one billion people this century.
  • Tobacco still kills nearly half a million Americans and more than 7 million people worldwide each year.
  • The tobacco industry relentlessly peddles its deadly products, targeting kids and other vulnerable populations.

Our remarkable progress shows that we can win the fight against tobacco. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is unyielding in our resolve and committed to finishing the job.

Since 1996, the campaign has contributed to:

  • 70% decrease in youth smoking
  • 39% decrease in adult smoking
  • 185 million Americans protected from secondhand smoke
  • Millions of lives saved by reducing cancer, heart disease and other tobacco-related conditions

As part of the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use, we have helped:

  • Pass new tobacco control laws in 59 countries since 2007
  • Save 30 million lives in low- and middle-income countries
  • Reverse the steep growth in cigarette sales worldwide
lung cancer and smoking tobacco


  • 100 million people died from tobacco use in the 20th century. If current trends continue one billion people will die from tobacco use in the 21st century.
  • Tobacco use kills up to half of all lifetime users. On average, smokers lose 15 years of life.
  • Tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year. By 2030, the number of tobacco-related deaths will increase to 8 million each year.
  • Smoking is estimated to cause about 1.4 trillion USD in economic damage each year.
  • Health care costs associated with tobacco-related illnesses are extremely high. Economic costs associated with smoking represent 1.8% of global GDP, and smoking-attributable health expenditure represents 5.7% of total health spending.
    • In the United States, annual tobacco-related health care costs amount to 170 billion USD; in China, 28.9 billion; in Vietnam, 0.6 billion USD; in Brazil, 5.8 billion USD.9
  • Tobacco-related illnesses and premature mortality impose high productivity costs to the economy because of sick workers and those who die prematurely during their working years. Lost economic opportunities in highly-populated low- and middle-income countries will be particularly severe as tobacco use is high and growing in those areas.
    • Global indirect costs of smoking are estimated to be about 1 trillion USD, nearly two thirds of which are due to premature mortality.
    • In Ukraine, the productivity loss due to premature smoking-related mortality is at least 3 billion USD annually.
  • Tobacco production damages the environment:
    • Tobacco plants are especially vulnerable to many pests and diseases, prompting farmers to apply large quantities of chemicals and pesticides that harm human health and the environment.
    • Clearing of land for cultivation and large amounts of wood needed for curing tobacco cause massive deforestation at a rate of about 200,000 hectares per year.
  • Tobacco kills over 480,000 people in the U.S. and over 7 million worldwide each year.
  • 5.6 million kids alive today in the U.S. will ultimately die from smoking — unless we act now to prevent it.
  • In the U.S. alone, tobacco companies spend $9.1 billion a year — $1 million every hour — to market their deadly products.
  • Raise the price of tobacco products;
  • Make all workplaces and public places smoke-free;
  • Require graphic health warnings on tobacco products;
  • Conduct tough anti-smoking ad campaigns;
  • Invest in programs that prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit;
  • Raise the tobacco sale age to 21; and
  • End the tobacco industry’s harmful manufacturing and marketing practices.
 Read More About Tobacco-Free Kids
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Tobacco Truth is a program developed by Crossbow Communications. The company has influenced public opinion and public policy around the world for more than 30 years. The company specializes in health and environmental issues.